May 25, 2022

Staff Reflections for Women’s Health Month 

For National Women’s Health Month this May, staff members of the Society for Women’s Research (SWHR) share why they chose to work in women’s health and what the work of advancing women’s health means to them.  


I choose to work in women’s health because I would like to participate in closing the knowledge gap about women’s health. Throughout college I was interested in women’s health, but my internship at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) turned my interest into passion. As part of my internship, I had the pleasure of attending different talks and events. One event discussed the lack of research on how prescription drugs affect pregnant women. I heard the story of a woman who was on antidepressants and looked to her primary care provider and OB/GYN for guidance on how her medication would affect her pregnancy; neither could give her any information and kept referring her to the other. Many women look to their doctors for guidance on medications, treatments, and diseases, but are not always given in-depth or accurate information because of the lack of research done on women, particularly pregnant and lactating women. SWHR’s mission resonates with me, and I am proud to be a part of a team that is actively working to promote research on biological sex differences and improve women’s health. My goal is for women to be able to go to the doctor and get the information necessary to make informed decisions about their health, the very first time they ask. 

Emma Bixler, Development Coordinator 



As a sophomore in college, I interned at a local community clinic that provides comprehensive health care services to the underserved and uninsured population of South Los Angeles. At this clinic, I saw first-hand the consequences of inadequate health care, such as high rates of pregnancy complications, ovarian, breast and cervical cancers, STDs, and depression and anxiety – and I saw how crime, poverty, structural racism, illiteracy, and housing insecurity all can contribute to poor health outcomes, particularly in women. This internship, along with other personal and professional experiences, inspired me to pursue a career in women’s health.  

I think now, especially given the maternal health crisis in the United States, women’s health and women’s health research should be a national public health priority. And I am proud to be a part of an organization that is helping to make women’s health mainstream.  

Gabriella Watson, Science Programs Coordinator



I choose to work in women’s health because we are society’s chief medical officers, primary caregivers, and patients who are responsible for the majority of health care decisions – but often find we are not included or considered or have our voices heard in the wider health care ecosystem – although women make up more than 50% of the U.S. population. 

For women’s health, say no to: 

Say yes to: 

The good news is many of these things are happening. We are finally seeing innovations in therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices that can advance women’s health, improve our quality of life, and offer better outcomes. The challenge remains with outdated health care policies, utilization, and management impeding access to quality and life-saving care, underfunded federal women’s health research, appropriate inclusion in clinical trials, poor medical training on women’s health issues, and a lack of urgency in moving from a sick care system to a health care system – for women and their families. 

Joy Braun, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships 



Before coming to work at SWHR and despite being a woman myself, I was in the dark about so much related to women’s health – from the historical underrepresentation of women in clinical research to the myriad disparities women face in health care. Despite working in federal health research policy for a decade, I didn’t realize the inattention given to sex differences in disease or have a sense of the challenges women face when seeking care. 

Women are a driving force in our society – a critical slice of the population. Considering women’s unique needs—both as patients and as caregivers—is necessary for achieving equitable and accessible health care. The longer I work with SWHR, the more clearly that I can see the tremendous opportunity that lies before us in women’s health and women’s health research, and the more passionate I become about SWHR’s mission. 

Lindsey Horan, Chief Advocacy Officer 



I was looking to work for an organization that truly stands for women’s health because I want to spend my day-to-day work doing what I believe. Women are the backbone of the society and share a core value of caring for others. For me, to be an employee of SWHR, a company that is deeply invested in improving women’s health, is like a dream come true. 

Women comprise 51% of the U.S. population. According to the American Cancer Society, women are 100 times more likely to get breast cancer than men. About 90%of people who have lupus are women. All of these are examples of why we at SWHR do the work we do. 

I have been with SWHR for the last 14 years and have seen SWHR continue to be in the forefront of making women’s health mainstream. 

Yonas Fsahaye, Chief Financial Officer